IRS 2021 Tax Deadline: What Families Need to Know

You have until the end of today to file for an extension, if you haven’t yet!

dad on the computer doing taxes
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It feels like just yesterday we were preparing for the start of tax season. But the deadline is already here – for most states. If you’ve not filed your taxes yet, if you have and wonder when you can expect to see a return, here’s what families need to know.

The IRS 2021 tax deadline is April 18.

If the deadline felt like it crept up on you, that’s because it’s the earliest taxes have been due since 2019. In 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) pushed the deadline to July and last year we had until mid-May to file.

This year, the deadline is back to pre-pandemic schedule and for most taxpayers to file their claims is Monday, April 18. However, there are a few states that have alternative dates. For example, in Massachusetts and Maine, the deadline is tomorrow, April 19 since those states observe Patriots’ Day.

Additionally, IRS tax filing deadlines have been extended for part of Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee due to winter storms, and victims of the wildfires in Colorado. The extension goes until May 16, but they are limited to specific counties. More details can be found on the IRS’ tax relief in disaster situations pages.

What if I haven’t filed yet?

If you haven’t filed your taxes yet today, you’ll want to move quicky to file for an extension, which you have until end of day today to request. Asking for an extension doesn’t put off the date you have to pay, if you owe taxes, but it does give you up to six months extra time to file.

If you’re going to miss filing and can’t ask for an extension by the end of today, you may get hit with a failure to file penalty. The IRS explains, “The Failure to File Penalty applies if you don’t file your tax return by the due date. The penalty you must pay is a percentage of the taxes you didn’t pay on time.”

When can I expect to receive my tax return?

Filing your taxes electronically and choosing direct deposit is the fastest way to get your tax return, with the IRS stating it could come within 21 days. However, there are still likely processing delays given this year’s extra complications in the paperwork including the Child Tax Credit and stimulus payments.

Don’t forget your child tax credit!

If for some reason you don’t or don’t have to file taxes by the deadline, or if you don’t owe money on your taxes, you can still claim your child tax credits. The second half of payment of the credit – after receiving the monthly checks last year – is still yours to claim.

You can expect to receive up to $1,800 for each child aged five and under. For parents with kids between the ages of six and 17, you can expect to receive up to $1,500 for each child. And these credits can be claimed by filing a return by October 17, 2022.

This tax credit has been more complicated than a typical year. If you’re not sure what to do, or concerned about missing a step, the IRS has several tools available designed to make the process a little easier.